NMCB 4 ‘Bees Construct Partnerships in Komodo 2016

By CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr., NMCB 4

NMCB 4 KOMODO Exercise

UTCN Connor Young, NMCB 4, hammers a nail into a piece of plywood with an engineer from an Asia-Pacific partner nation to prepare for the concrete pour on a 500-meter road on Sipura Island, Indonesia, during the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016, April 5. (Photo by CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr./160405-N-NO181-242)

Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 conducted an Engineering Civic Action Project (ENCAP) with engineers from four Asia-Pacific partner nations in the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo, Sipura Island, Indonesia, March 26 – April 16.

Komodo is a multilateral naval exercise hosted by the Indonesian Armed Forces, Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angatan Laut. First organized in 2014, this year marks the first time U.S. engineering forces participated in the events. This exercise focuses on maritime peacekeeping and strengthening naval partnerships across the Pacific. This year, 35 countries participated in fleet, medical and engineering cooperation scenarios.

As the only U.S. engineering force on the ground, NMCB 4 had the opportunity to interact with military engineers from multiple countries.

NMCB 4 KOMODO Exercise

SWCN Johhny Hagemann, NMCB 4, levels concrete for the reconstruction of a 500-meter road on Sipura Island, Indonesia, during the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016, April 5. (Photo by CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr./160405-N-NO181-222)

“Komodo is about building partnerships, capabilities and interoperability between our partners,” said Construction Electrician 1st Class Bryan Pelangka, NMCB 4 Detail Komodo officer in charge. “The amazing part was you could see the teamwork being built right in front of you.”

The NMCB 4 Seabees left their mark in Indonesia by improving the Tua Pejat Road from dirt to concrete alongside their engineering counterparts. The reconstruction of the 500-meter road helped strengthen the multi-national relationship and directly improved social and economic growth on the island. In a region with prolonged rainy seasons, the improved road enables over 1,000 local families year-round access to community services, schools and a regional medical clinic.

“Meeting the medical staff from other countries and learning how they treat and react to casualties on job sites was something different for me,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Kalin Verhelst. “I was able to relate to and learn how a different Navy handles minor procedures and what their capabilities are outside of a hospital. Overall, it was a unique and eye-opening experience.”

NMCB 4 and its engineering counterparts outpaced the planned schedule, demonstrating harmony and morale in joint work ethics to complete the project. Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Jeremy Colbert, NMCB 4, said the three-week project built not only a partnership but memories the Seabees will not forget.

NMCB 4 KOMODO Exercise

UT2 Jacob McSwain, NMCB 4, explains the details of the reconstruction project of a 500-meter road on Sipura Island, Indonesia, during the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016, April 1. (Photo by CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr./160401-N-NO181-435)

“Even though our construction means vary, we quickly learned that we have a lot more in common than not,” said Colbert. “Exchanging construction and cultural knowledge with them is something I will take with me the rest of my naval career and I hope I get the chance to work with them again in the future.”

The project came to an end with the closing ceremony on April 16, which included each nation marching together in a ‘Pass in Review,’ and a demonstration parachute jump by the Indonesian Marine Parachute Team. The keynote speaker, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Indonesian Navy for Operations, Rear Adm. Ary Atmaja, addressed the importance of team-building exercises and expressed his gratefulness for the participation and cooperation of all nations.

NMCB 4 KOMODO Exercise

CE1 Bryan Pelangka, NMCB 4, talks to an engineer from an Asia-Pacific partner nation about the reconstruction project of a 500-meter road on Sipura Island, Indonesia, during the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016, April 1. (Photo by CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr./160401-N-NO181-141)

NMCB 4 is a forward deployed Pacific NMCB ready to support major combat operations and humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief operations and provide general engineering and civil support to Navy, Marine Corps and joint operational forces. Homeported out of Port Hueneme, Calif., NMCB 4 has detachment sites deployed throughout the United States and Pacific area of operations, including Cambodia, Diego Garcia, Guam, Japan, Philippines, Republic of Korea and Timor Leste.

NMCB 4 KOMODO Exercise

Seabees assigned to NMCB 4 work with engineers from four Asia-Pacific partner nations to reconstruct a 500-meter road on Sipura Island, Indonesia, during the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016, April 11. (Photo by CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr./160411-N-NO181-782)

NMCB 4 KOMODO Exercise

CM1 Jose Medel, NMCB 4, speaks with students from a local school house on Sipura Island, Indonesia, during the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016, April 11. (Photo by CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr./160411-N-NO181-865)

NMCB 4 KOMODO Exercise

CE1 Bryan Pelangka, NMCB 4, receives a coin on behalf of the battalion for their work during the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016, Sipura Island, Indonesia, April 16. (Photo by CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr./160416-N-NO181-540)

NMCB 4 KOMODO Exercise

Seabees assigned to NMCB 4 stand in formation with engineers from Asia-Pacific partner nations during the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016 closing ceremony, Sipura Island, Indonesia, April 16.  NMCB 4 conducted an engineering civic action project with engineers from four Asia-Pacific nations, marking the first time U.S. engineering forces participated in the exercise. (Photo by CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr./160416-N-NO181-267)

NMCB 4 KOMODO Exercise

Seabees assigned to NMCB 4 pose for a photo with engineers from four Asia-Pacific partner nations during the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo 2016, Sipura Island, Indonesia, April 14. (Photo by CE3 Santiago Guzman Jr./160414-N-NO181-437)

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